I am waiting on a blizzard. My little corner of the country is expected to get about a foot of snow (maybe more, maybe less) over the next two days. I ran out for some batteries and chipotle last night (last chance to not cook for who knows how long) and the traffic itself was grumpy and panicked. I got my fill of people for the next few days, and I’m stocked and ready to hole up with hot beverages and maybe a billion bowls of pasta. I also have plenty of clementines to stave off scurvy for as long as necessary. I’m ready.
This is my favorite salad to serve with dinner in the winter. It’s so bright and pretty and seasonal and the opposite of a blizzard. I’ve done almost the exact same flavor combination before, in a pretty ombre citrus salad without greens, but I feel like I need to remind people that it is a thing: citrus with onions and toasted almonds (and salt and pepper). It’s probably the weirdest flavor combination ever created but I tell you, it mystically and gorgeously works.
I didn’t come up with it myself either. My grandma has been serving green salad with orange supremes, onion, and slivered toasted almonds (and sometimes a dash of dill) to me almost my entire life. Maybe it’s one of those vintage flavor combinations that have somehow been forgotten along the way, but I’ve been enjoying it since I can remember, and I want YOU to enjoy it too.
I miss tomatoes this time of year, especially in salads. Don’t you?? They bring a juicy, acidic heft to green salads that winter tomatoes just can’t muster. So how ’bout listening to the seasons and swapping dry and mealy winter tomatoes for tart hunks of citrus?
And grapefruits! Did you know that salt works to magically counter-act the bitterness in grapefruits? I’m telling you, grapefruit never tasted as amazing as it does when you throw it in this savory salad. I don’t even usually like fruit in salads AT ALL, but citrus plays with the savory flavors here really really well. I promise. Indulge me and try it.
And also cross your fingers that I don’t lose power in this blizzard so I can still make hot foods (and watch netflix…and not freeze to death). K thx.
Winter Salad with Citrus and Avocado
Makes 3-4 servings
1 Tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
salt and black pepper to taste
1 grapefruit (or sub any citrus you like)
2-3 clementines (feel free to sub your favorite)
about 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
about 1/4 cup almonds, toasted (whole, sliced, slivered, all are good)
about 4 cups or 1 bag of your favorite salad greens (you can stretch this to feed more people with a bit more greens)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, honey, and a good pinch of salt with a generous grind of pepper. This is a small amount of dressing for a pretty voluminous salad, but the dressing is STRONG (note the 1:1 ratio of vinegar to oil) and will be mellowed out by the liquid the citrus gives off.
2. Thinly slice your onion and let it sit in the bottom of the bowl with the dressing to marinate and soften while you do the rest of the chopping and slicing.
3. If your almonds aren’t already toasted, put them in a small glass bowl in the microwave for a minute. Stir and microwave for another minute. Continue stirring and microwaving in 30-60 second bursts until the almonds are lightly browned and fragrant. Allow to cool and chop roughly.
4. Remove the outer peels from the grapefruit and clementines (or whatever citrus you chose) and slice into rounds or remove each section from the fruit with a knife.
5. Add your greens to the salad bowl and toss to coat with dressing. If the greens you are using are of the soft and fluffy variety (spinach, spring mix, baby kale, arugula) consider squishing the greens a little bit while you toss them. This mellows out the flavors a bit, causes the greens to wilt, and makes it easier to eat a heaping ton of greens, which is good. If you are using romaine or iceberg, skip this step. I like to use a mix of both soft and crunchy lettuce, massaging the soft greens and then gently tossing in the crunchy lettuce (pictured is a crispy butter lettuce and radicchio mix with some massaged baby kale).
6. Peel and slice your avocado into chunky wedges. Add to the salad bowl along with the citrus and gently toss together until everything is lightly coated in dressing.
7. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve and top with toasted almonds.